It’s always hard to resist the urge to buy a fancy pair of headphones, especially if you’re an audiophile who appreciates high sound fidelity.
On the other hand, the budget-friendly options are not as satisfying as the ones you originally had your eyes on. It’s a tough equation, but the good news is, you can get the best of both worlds.
It wasn’t easy, but we managed to find these five underpriced headphones that offer the advanced hybrid active noise cancellation, both wireless and wired connectivity, and the most exquisite sound quality.
Let’s check out the best noise cancelling headphones under $50 that will blow your mind.
Our Top Picks
|Headphones||Playtime||Bluetooth Version||Microphone Technology||Charging Time|
|COWIN E7||30 hours||4.0||NFC||3 – 4 hours|
|Mpow H19||35 hours||5.0||CVC 8.0||1.5 – 2.5 hours|
|Mpow H17||45 hours||4.1||CVC 6.0||2- 3 hours|
|Mpow H12||30 hours||5. 0||CVC 6.0||2 – 3 hours|
|iTeknic||30 hours||5.0||CVC 6.0||1 hour|
The 5 Best Noise Cancelling Headphones in 2021
1. COWIN E7 – Editor’s Choice
The COWIN E7 is among the highly featured headphones on the market as it’s an incredibly reliable headset with respect to sound quality, noise cancellation, and compatibility.
The hybrid active noise cancellation suppresses about 90% of the low-frequency background noises, including city traffics, engines, and office noises. And since you can still hear high-frequency sounds, you won’t lose connection with the external world.
The 45mm drivers deliver a clear stereo sound that’s pretty captivating, and you’ll enjoy a deep, clean bass with excellent details. Also, with 30 hours of playtime, you won’t turn to the 1/8” TRS audio cable too often; however, you’ll have a backup if the battery dies. It’s a bit disappointing that it can take up to 4 hours to fully recharge the battery, so make sure to connect it to the charger after each use.
The foldable design of the COWIN E7 comes in handy if you travel a lot. It’s a little bulky, but you can adjust the 90° swiveling earcups to get a perfect fit. The protein leather and memory foam are soft on the ears. Yet, the headband is relatively tight, so you might need to rest your ears every 2 or 3 hours.
Add to this; these headphones are compatible with iOS, Android, Windows, and even TVs, so you can use them with every device out there, whether it’s for listening to music, watching movies, making calls, or gaming. Lastly, The box includes a soft travel bag, a manual, a USB cable, an audio cable, and of course, the headphones. You’ll also get an 18-month extended warranty.
- Decent battery life
- Deep bass
- Foldable design
- Stunning sound
- Excellent microphone performance
- Compatible with many devices
- An18-month limited warranty
- Relatively tight headband
- Uses an older Bluetooth version
- Average playback time
The COWIN E7 offers significant noise reduction with an excellent value for your money thanks to the dual EQ mode that will help you get a personalized listening profile and the 5-microphone technology that delivers your sound with high clarity.
2. Mpow H19 – Best Industrial level Noise Cancellation
If you’re looking for headphones that offer maximum noise cancellation without breaking the bank, then the Mpow H19 is the most suitable for you. It uses an efficient algorithm that does a brilliant job in identifying background noises and opposing them.
Moreover, the headphones utilize the most advanced Bluetooth version 5.0, with an extended range of connectivity and a more reliable running rate. Not to mention, they come with a CVC 8.0 noise-reducing mic, so you’ll be heard loud and clear during your online meetings and in-game chats.
As for the audio, get ready for booming bass and crisp treble with unmatchable fidelity that lets you enjoy every detail while listening to your favorite songs through the authentic 40mm drivers.
Also, Mpow was keen on offering an optimal listening experience with this model, which was reflected in the design of the earcups that gently mold around the ears. Even though the headband doesn’t offer much flexibility with regard to adjustment, you’ll be able to get a secure fit without any compromises regarding comfort.
One of the best features that add up to the Mpow H19 is Quick Charging, allowing the user to get up to 2 hours of playback time after 10 minutes of charging. That said, the headphones provide 35 hours of continuous playback when they’re fully charged with ANC turned off.
The headphones come with a carrying pouch, as well as a user’s manual, a charging cable, and a 3.5mm audio cable in case you need to have a wired connection or you’re connecting to a device that doesn’t support wireless connectivity.
- Industrial level noise cancellation
- Features Bluetooth 5.0
- CVC 8.0 noise-reducing microphone
- Comfortable and soft ear cups with an adjustable headband
- Outstanding Hi-Fi audio
- Ergonomic foldable design
- Comes with all the necessary accessories
- Excellent battery life
- Offers less color diversity compared to the previous model
- The headband could be more flexible
Although the Mpow H19 comes in a standard design, it has so much to offer for such an affordable price range, especially that you can get it up and running in a couple of minutes rather than waiting several hours for the battery to recharge.
3. Mpow H17 – Longest Playtime
If you spend most of your time outside and you’re worried about the battery life, you should opt for the Mpow H17 as it offers the maximum playtime you can find for less than $50.
The model is similar to its H19 counterpart in many aspects, including the design, the three available colors, and the Quick Charge technology.
However, it comes with a bigger battery, and it can only draw out low-frequency noises like airplanes, commutes, and mowing machines. Another difference is that this model utilizes CVC 6.0 rather than the more advanced 8.0 version, yet it transfers a clear, noise-free voice to your recipients.
The listening experience is exceptional as the 40mm drivers deliver clear and immersive sound. To sum it up, you’ll get pure and clear audio, optimal noise reduction, and prolonged hours of continuous playtime.
- Incredible battery life
- Foldable design
- Excellent audio quality
- Compatible with various devices
- Features the Quick Charge technology
- Uses the older CVC 6.0 microphone
Although the Mpow H17 and H19 are similar in various ways, they target different types of users. So, if your priority is extending the usage period and reducing the number of charges, the Mpow H17 would be the best option for you.
4. Mpow H12 – Best for Large Heads
Finding a budget-friendly pair of headphones that’s still comfortable can be troublesome if you have a large head. However, you can stop worrying about it with the Mpow H12 as it features an oversized design that fits big head sizes and provides unmatchable comfort with prolonged listening sessions.
The specs are pretty standard, especially when it comes to the battery life that lasts for a maximum of 30 hours and the CVC 6.0 microphone that, as mentioned earlier, still delivers a clear sound.
Regardless, this model comes with the advanced Bluetooth 5.0 that provides an unbreakable connection with a wider connectivity range. Like all the models on our list, the Mpow H12 features hybrid active noise cancellation that eliminates feedback and feedforward noises.
It’s no surprise that this model is compatible with all Bluetooth-enabled devices and offers a Hi-Fi stereo sound with deep, immersive bass.
- Extremely comfortable
- Uses advanced noise reduction technology
- Stable Bluetooth connectivity
- Compatible with the majority of devices
- Lightweight and comes in a foldable design
- Utilizes CVC 6.0 mic technology
- Average playtime that’s up to 30 hours only
If you don’t want to miss out on the unrivaled Mpow music experience, but you’re struggling with finding a model that comfortably fits, then the H12 is the best way to go.
5. iTeknic – Best Battery Performance
As you can tell from the title, the battery performance of the iTeknic is what makes it stand out from the crowd. Although it doesn’t offer the longest playtime, the battery takes less than 1 hour to charge completely. Furthermore, 5 minutes of charging provides more than 2 hours of playback, so you can take a break for a couple of minutes while it recharges rather than settling for wired connectivity.
In terms of noise cancellation, it uses the advanced As3435 technology that prevents most of the background noise from reaching your ears. Another bonus that you’ll get with the iTeknic headphones is that they come with a hardshell traveling pouch, so your headphones will stay as protected as possible.
- Outstanding battery performance
- Advanced noise cancellation technology
- Supports Bluetooth 5.0
- Hi-Fi sound
- Comfortable design with 90° swiveling earcups
- Hardshell carrying case
- Relatively short battery life
- Microphone supports CVC 6.0
- Comes in one color only
The iTeknic is a decent alternative to the Mpow H17 for those who use their headphones 24/7 and need a pair to have on the go.
How to Choose a Pair of Noise Cancelling Headphones
Being on a tight budget, you’re probably torn between saving up and buying a decent pair of headphones. This is why it’s best to have a general understanding of what most users consider useless marketing jargon, when in fact, it’s what should direct you towards buying a particular model of headphones rather than the others.
Therefore, we decided to untangle some of the terms you’ll frequently encounter while buying new headphones, and we’ll let you in on what they imply. This way, you can make the smartest choice regarding which of these headphones is tailored for you.
Wired vs. Wireless
Although it might seem like a no-brainer, the type of connectivity you choose has the strongest impact on your experience. Most users who look for the noise cancelling headphones want to stay focused while working, practicing, or even gaming; accordingly, a wireless headset seems more reasonable. However, the limited battery life is usually the only thing holding them back.
The best way around this is to buy a pair that supports both wireless and wired connectivity so that you’ll always have a backup if you urgently need to use your headphones and the battery dies.
There’s more to a battery than the playback time it offers, even though it’s what we all initially consider. Nonetheless, you should keep in mind that active noise cancellation drains the battery faster than expected, so you won’t get the playback time claimed by the manufacturer unless you use your headphones in PNC mode. Ergo, it’s best to use ANC when you can’t do without it and stick to PNC whenever you’re in a quiet environment.
Passive vs. Active Noise Cancellation
You’re probably all worked up about ANC, wondering if you even need it; we wish there were a solid answer to this, but understanding what both ANC and PNC offer will help you figure it out.
PNC is a fancy way to describe ear plugging. It entails using thick cushions with fitting gels that act as barriers between your ears and the outside noises.
On the other hand, the ANC is more complicated. To cut it short, headphones that offer active noise cancellation feature dedicated microphones that pick up the noise coming from the background, then generating opposing signals that counteract such noises. Thus, ANC provides better isolation.
Because we can’t express the sound quality using numerals, you’ll have to test the headphones yourself. There’s a little subjective value, but if a pair of headphones has many reviews and positive ratings, you can trust it sounds good. One of the major factors that impact how the sound turns out is the driver’s size. And while choosing larger drivers doesn’t guarantee a better sound, more often than not, they actually do sound better.
As for the audio, some systems are implemented in different headphones to enhance the user’s experience. For instance, 3D or 360 audio offers a more immersive sound as it gives an impression that the sound is surrounding you from all directions rather than coming from the earpieces.
While many of us rather have such a realistic experience because it’s more enjoyable, it’s more of a must-have feature for gamers because it gives them more advantages that can be game-changing.
You’ll find multiple versions of Bluetooth connections on the market; let’s figure out what the difference between them is.
Bluetooth 4.2: This is the earlier version of Bluetooth connectivity, and it’s limited to 200 feet and can transfer a maximum of 1 Mbps. Is it reliable? YES! It shouldn’t be the main reason to ditch one model and pick up the other; most of the time, you’ll be a couple of steps away from the sound source anyway.
Bluetooth 5.0: The newer version offers a wider range of communication that reaches up to 800 feet, running at a maximum of 2 Mbps. It’s more efficient than the previous type, so it’s better for users who won’t always be near the sound source, for example, if you’d rather leave your phone in a locker when you hit the gym.
It’s worth mentioning that this is not as far as Bluetooth connectivity can go. In fact, wireless connectivity can significantly enhance or ruin your experience. To ensure you’re getting the most suitable pair of headphones, we have to go through some codecs that you’ll find while going through the specs.
SBC: This is the default codec that’s found on almost all devices. It offers the lowest quality compared to the coming codecs with a data transfer rate of 345 Kilobits per second (kbps) and a latency that reaches 200 milliseconds. Unfortunately, this can create some lip-syncing issues for most users.
AAC: This codec comes with all Apple Bluetooth devices, but it’s inconsistent with Android ones. It’s a more advanced version of the previous codec that runs at 250 kbps. Unless you’re using an iPhone or iPad, you probably won’t make much use of AAC.
aptX: You’ll find multiple sub-types of aptX like aptX HD, low latency, and adaptive. The bottom line is, with the exception of some minor variations, the codec offers excellent, reliable transmission with low latency and stable connectivity.
LDAC: Sony is the current pioneer in terms of Bluetooth connectivity and sound quality. LDAC can run at 330, 660, and 990 kbps, and it offers the highest sound quality. Sadly, it’s not available for Apple devices, but you’ll find it in many Android and Sony products.
Lastly, we’d like to point out that some Bluetooth headphones offer multipoint connectivity, which is a great advantage if you want to stay connected to your personal phone while you’re connected to your work phone or laptop.
It’s crystal clear that the five models on the list are worth way more than their actual price. The slight differences between these headphones can make you pick one model over the others; however, we believe that the COWIN E7 is the best noise canceling headphones under $50 for most users out there.